Netizen Report: Chilean Copyright Bill Could Eliminate Public Domain for Video, Music

    The Chilean government is considering a policy that would require all content creators to place their work under copyright. Photo by David Berkowitz and used here with Creative Commons license.

    Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.

    In the coming week, Chile’s Senate will vote on a proposed policy that could eliminate Internet users’ abilities to share videos and music online. The policy would amend Chile’s existing law on audiovisual artworks by forcing their creators to place all works under copyright and seek compensation (i.e. money) in exchange for their use.

    "If the law passes...Chilean creators of audiovisual works will no longer have the option of putting their works in the public domain."

    The amendment stipulates that all contributors to an audiovisual performance whom the law regards as authors would be entitled to payment whenever their work is used online, even if they never asked for payment and don’t want it. This would apply for the duration of the copyright, and would apply both to local and foreign works.


    According to Luis Villarroel of Innovarte, a Chilean NGO dedicated to promoting balanced approaches to intellectual property, the legislation is being promoted by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers and by Chilean collecting societies. He and others have been quick to point out that the new licensing fees would all be administered by the collecting societies themselves.

    It is difficult to imagine how regulators would implement such a policy in the digital realm, as websites like YouTube and Vimeo are not built to accommodate such specific requirements within a particular country’s borders. One can imagine that platforms that are entirely Creative Commons-based, such as Free Music Archive, could be rendered obsolete altogether.

    If the law passes the Senate and is approved by the executive branch, Chilean creators of audiovisual works will no longer have the option of putting their works in the public domain or using open licensing alternatives, such as Creative Commons. While it’s not clear specifically how the policy would impact online platforms and communities, like YouTube and Vimeo, the law would unquestionably limit the flow of free and shared creative content on the Web.


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    Journalist Khadija Ismayilova was released from prison on May 25 after spending 537 days in jail when the Supreme Court reduced her sentence following an appeal. Ismayilova was detained in December 2014 on charges that are believed to be linked to her reporting on government corruption and the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Ismayilova promised to continue her work as a journalist in a message she posted on Facebook.

    Vietnam censors Facebook and Instagram in the face of protests

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    Photo by Maria Elena on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

    Photo by Maria Elena on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

    Nigerian Senate throws out ‘anti-social media bill’

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    No need for the courts, say Malaysian lawmakers

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    Ghanaian officials rebuff telco push to censor WhatsApp, Viber

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    Photo by Sam Azgor on Flickr and reused here with Creative Commons license.

    Photo by Sam Azgor on Flickr and reused here with Creative Commons license.

    Venezuela is definitely censoring the Internet

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    New Research


    The Netizen Report is produced by Global Voices AdvocacyEllery Roberts Biddle, Weiping Li, Hae-in Lim and Sarah Myers West contributed to this report.


    Tagged: Azerbaijan chile china copyright ghana global voices advocacy malaysia netizen report nigeria venezuela vietnam

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